Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers are past the period of having to worry about their restricted free agents, they are left with just $607,427.00 in salary cap space to work with as we inch closer to the 2013 NFL draft. That doesn\’t leave much room to sign additional players, even when you factor in displacement.
Over a week ago, there were reports suggesting former New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw would be returning to Pittsburgh prior to the draft to have his surgically repaired foot looked at again, and while that still indeed might take place, it is unlikely that he will be signed, unless he is willing to take accept a one-year qualifying contract that includes a $65,000 signing bonus and comes with a reduced cap charge. Paying Bradshaw any more than that, say $1 million, would nearly run the Steelers out of cap room completely after displacement in the top 51 salaries.
Bradshaw is coming off of a season in which he rushed for 1,015 yards and 6 touchdowns, and while he does have injury concerns, his best course of action right now would likely be to continue heeling and wait. Especially if he is looking for more than the minimum.
After the draft concludes, a few teams, including the Steelers, might consider Bradshaw depending on how their selections turn out. Even then, the Steelers will not have additional cap space to work with until the release of guard Willie Colon becomes official at the beginning of June.
As we sit here less than one week away from the draft, the Steelers currently have running backs Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman and Baron Batch under contract for the 2013 season. They are certainly going to draft a running back next week and will more than likely add another one or two running backs as undrafted free agents by Monday.
Six running bodies should be plenty for the Steelers to have on their roster to get them through the mini-camp practices. By the time June rolls around, they will have had more than enough time to evaluate the position and decide if they want to add Bradshaw to the roster, assuming he has remained unsigned.